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Tribunal refused pip

So I've been refused pip by the tribunal. Despite providing evidence from doctors and specialists the judge seems to think i can have all my health problems but that they don't really make me suffer! I have fibromyalgia, tourettes syndrome, depression and anxiety, debilitating migraines, arthritis of the lower back, sciatica, tendonitis in my feet and ankles and bursitis of the shoulder but Im told these aren't serious conditions so they don't believe I'm really struggling even though i gave evidence of how I meet the criteria I applied for and rely on aids and help from family to function. I feel so bad I'm scared my depression will get really bad again and make me feel suicidal! How limited does your life have to be for these monsters


  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,628 Disability Gamechanger
    I can see five threads about different aspects of your appeal. You make no mention of our previous advice to have two real world examples of attempting each points scoring activity ready. You only mention medical evidence. It has been said many times on here that tribunals have little interest in medical evidence or the HCP report. 

    I think it is worth putting to bed a number of misapprehensions for the benefit of other members as much as yourself.

    - The tribunal aren’t interested in whether you “suffer” or “struggling”. Their focus is solely on hearing evidence; making findings of fact and applying the law to those facts. In the case of PIP they simply want to know whether you score points or not and that’s decided by hearing your verbal evidence and gauging whether you can perform an activity “reliably”.
    - Help from your family often doesn’t illustrate much as it’s difficult to decide what your family would do because you need. The best evidence on the day is yours and you need actual examples. 
    - PIP is not based on the number of conditions you have or their “seriousness”. It is about the consequences. Someone else could have the same conditions as you and their ability to perform points scoring activities could be better or worse than you. 
    - use of aids is usually a points scorer. However, it really depends on what the aids are and who provided them. So, if you have a walking frame but it was given to you by a relative or is shared with another member of your family who has it because their needs were formally assessed then points are unlikely because a tribunal can conclude that need has not been established. Indeed many people use aids in these circumstances which cause them more harm than good; poorly set up crutches being the most obvious example which comes up again and again. 

    Putting aside the above...

    Your option right now is to put in a request for a statement of reasons and record of proceedings with a view to applying for leave to appeal to the upper tribunal. Crack on with that immediately.
    I wrote at length about my personal experiences and examples and was able to describe in detail to the tribunal examples of everything. I had medical evidence, I gave examples, photos, was as thorough as I could be. I gave them examples of why I fit the descriptors and didn't rely on the medical evidence as they already had it. I believe that the judge had her mind made up as soon as fibromyalgia came up. I get the impression from her decision letter that she doesn't take it seriously as a condition 
    Also, I was told by many doctors and health workers that aids like walking sticks are rarely prescribed as they are easy to buy and that is what dla was for to help you get what you need to manage. There is nothing to prescribe for my conditions I just have to do what I can to cope. Its hard when you have a condition that is so dibillitating but hard to treat and even see all the time. No one sees me when it's really bad because I'm stuck indoors. It's an uphill struggle just to be believed sometimes 
    By the way what counts as evidence in your opinion? If my own word, my families word, my doctors opinions and evidence, and general knowledge about how these conditions can affect people aren't enough evidence in your opinion then what is? 
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,187

    Scope community team


    I'm sorry to read how the outcome has made you feel, I have sent you an email from [email protected], it would be great if you could give it a read.
    Online Community Coordinator

    Talk to our chatbot and give us feedback on the community.
    Thank you. I will. I struggled with this pip appeal as due to lockdown I couldn't get help from cab and didn't have anywhere else to turn so ended up doing it all alone! I wasn't given a choice of when to have this dealt with it just happens as it comes and I think this is a bad time to be dealing with all this. My mental health therapy organisation I started seeing is not open at the moment and no one classed my predicament as an emergency so I've struggled with this and it's all ended badly for me. I just feel so lost right now. I'm not giving up but very deflated today. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,628 Disability Gamechanger
    The reality is that the medical profession as a whole are split on fibromyalgia. It’s rarely a good idea to focus an appeal around such things. Few judges have made their minds up about anything before you walk in. All three panel members will have previewed the papers at home. They’ll then preview them as a group on the day and form an initial view as to gaps in the evidence/likely awards etc. That’s not the same as having made up your mind in advance and it’s easy to forget that your case was not heard by a judge. It was heard by a panel of three and, of those, the most likely one with a negative view of Fibro will have been the medical professional not the judge. 

    The “letter” you will have had at this point is a summary decision. It is largely a template  and I’m not sure how you could form any impression of what one panel member thought of one health condition when the summary is written on behalf of the whole panel. The only thing which might give you any impression of what the judge thought would be their handwritten record of proceedings wfh has you have yet to request.

    Whilst it is true that some items are rarely prescribed because of their general availability it’s also true that this relates largely to those items which aren’t really needed/don’t do that much good. Walking sticks are a fine example. Crutches have to be set at a specific position to assist. Sticks though are whatever height you choose and most people have little clue as to whether the thing helps. Thus why it’s hard to prove that you “need” such things.

    However,, whoever told you that was what DLA was for was, frankly, talking out of their backside. The idea that there are specific things that disability benefits must be spent on is one that’s been around for decades. It remains as untrue now as it was back then. You can spend it on whatever the heck you want. It’s also worth noting that it would be perverse for DLA to have ever been intended to spend on aids as the use of aids actually reduced the chances of getting a DLA award because of the “simpler methods” rule.

    There is no answer to your rather worrying question about what “counts” as evidence. The reality is that you’re asking the wrong question. Everything counts as evidence. The real question is whether it something is good evidence and that’s not the same at all. Regular readers here will know that in most instances I’ve a preference for anecdotal evidence but that’s not relevant here. Having a lot of evidence is not the same as having good evidence. 

    My guess, and it is of course a guess, is that your accompanying evidence was largely not directed specifically to the descriptors. I’d be interested to know if you scored any points. 
    I actually made my own appeal specific to the descriptors and pointed out why I believe I should get the points on the descriptors I selected. I am only entitled to the lowest rates and not all the descriptors applied but enough did to award me the lower rates in mobility and care. I also made sure to focus on all my chronic issues and how they all contribute to my difficulties, I didn't focus only on one thing but the tribunal only seemed interested in picking apart my fibromyalgia. They never mentioned anything else and if I tried to explain other problems they just said they had read my information on them and weren't disputing them! I got 0 points! I can't even fathom how I wasn't awarded a single point as some of my problems are physically proved with scans and medical evidence and by their nature cause physical impairment. I really don't know what to think. 
    Doctors can only really give diagnosis and treatment if possible. You are correct that medical evidence can't tell them how you live with the conditions. But how do i prove how my daily life is affected? Unless they are going to watch me for a month and see for themselves it's just my word to tell them that. How do i prove this i really want to know
    Thanks for helping me talk this out. To anyone who feels like giving up don't. Your going to feel down and dejected if your in my situation but it does help to get on the forum and talk out these things. And you will often find you manage to get a lot of good info from these conversations. I'm not going to give up. I've had some good suggestions today and I don't feel so hopeless now. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,628 Disability Gamechanger
    It’s not about whether a physical issue by its very nature causes an impairment. It’s about whether the impairment scores points. Again, a different thing. 

    It’s by no means a given that tourettes syndrome, depression and anxiety, debilitating migraines, arthritis of the lower back, sciatica, tendonitis in my feet and ankles and bursitis of the shoulder would automatically score you points. It really depends on the specific anecdotal stuff supporting that. The fact you keep referring back to medical evidence does read like/suggest you assumed certain parts, if not the majority, of your case, ought to have been self-evident.
    edited February 28
    Mikehughesq what is your problem? I've been sick a very long time. I'm not an idiot. I did everything correctly and it still wasn't enough. I gave anecdotal evidence. I was told there was no way they could verify it. What the hell am I suppose to do with that? If diagnosis, medical evidence, photographs and anecdotes are not enough what do they want from me? [removed by moderator]
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,628 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 28
    And here we go again. People looking for “answers” but not really, so they drift into personal abuse and then we get back into Scope’s poor policy of editing rather than sanctioning.” I’ve worked full-time on the exact opposite of the DWP since mid 1986 and my “problem” is largely that I’ve heard all this before. You have acknowledged all advice and help to this point but now it’s gone wrong we’re all wrong. Hmm.

    “I represented myself. I did everything perfectly. I didn’t qualify.” That leaves four options doesn’t it:

    1 - the system is “evil”. Everyone’s fave option as it’s certainly true for certain aspects of social security which have no evidence base e.g. the benefit cap and sanctions. Always a go to option as there’s no shortage of people on forums who will pile in and sympathise and allow you to convince yourself. Not quite the same as it actually being true though. Sure there’s the odd maverick DM or tribunal but nowhere near the extent described in places like this. 

    2 - you actually do not qualify because your range of health issues does not provide the appropriate level of functional impairment. The least popular option. Almost no-one contemplates that there is a threshold and that, with the best will in the world, some people will rightly or wrongly fall below it. I like the idea no better than anyone else but again that doesn’t stop it being a reality.

    3 - maybe, just maybe, people aren’t quite as independent, expert or well-versed in social security as they think they are. Maybe they needed representation. This of course includes that lovely subset of people who like the narrative of the small guy versus the system. “I beat the system.I took them on alone so everyone else can do that too.” Take a look around this forum. For every success there are 10 failures and an absolute refusal to engage with advice from others. 

    4 - much of the work I now personally do I do from scratch where possible I.e. assessment and then claim pack if possible. Inevitably though there is a significant amount of stuff we pick up where other people do it themselves and have often being doing that for years. The results are obviously mixed but I can say with absolute confidence that in 35 years I can count the number of people who told me what a great job they’d done or had been doing in 3 maybe 4 figures. Of the ones I then saw I’d say the numbers where that actually turned out to be true or consistently true have yet to reach 10. My favourite was absolutely the person who told me they knew their claim pack was great because it had been completed by a social worker; read by their mother; approved by their GP etc. It was quite literally the worst claim pack I have ever read. It didn’t even name the medical condition. It used the phrase “partially-sighed” which of course is not a medical condition at all. It is a description of a symptom. Who exactly reviewed your evidence apart from you?

    None of this is to troll you. You’ve obviously thought about this at length and put a huge amount of effort into it. It hasn’t worked. I am simply pointing out that your approach and your posts have a whole pile of assumptions about what just happened and they are getting in the way of what actually happened. You now need to obtain a statement of reasons and a record of proceedings. Along with that I’d recommend you think about advice and representation as, being even more blunt, it is clearly needed. If you haven’t managed to win a case based on evidence at FTT it would be highly unusual for you to then be able to identify one of the 5 errors of law you will now need to identify in order to move forward. 

    As you’ve started to drift into personal abuse you won’t be getting any further responses from me as I have a zero tolerance approach to such matters. I doubt you’re going to get a more comprehensive answer from any other poster here or a post which raises a new relevant angle on this but good luck. Hopefully Scope will step up; realise that too and see that there’s little point in editing your post or keeping this open.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,002

    Scope community team

    @TEACUPTERRIER, while I understand how frustrating the benefit system can be and the stresses and pressures this puts on individuals, it's not acceptable to take that out on members of the community who are clearly trying to help you. 
    I've removed portions of your post that we consider personal abuse directed at another member because we do not accept this on the community. Our community guidelines can be found here

    For what it's worth, a lot of people (myself included) have been in similar positions to you and felt the same frustration at the system. Long before I started at Scope I helped someone through the application process and was aghast that despite their struggles, they too were awarded zero points. It took a long time (and specialist help) for us to see that the issue wasn't necessarily the DWP not believing the struggles she faced, but that we hadn't given detailed enough evidence to actually show why she met certain descriptors and how. Our claim was mostly full of assertions such as 'She can't do X because of Y', instead of highlighting why Y stops her doing it. 

    If you're looking to appeal, your next step here is request a statement of reasons. I'd strongly advise you to look for some specialist advice local to you that may be able to assist. https://advicelocal.uk/
    Community Manager
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